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Prayer: The Art of Getting Your Thoughts and Feelings to Agree

***All quotes are taken from Chapter 3 (Imagination and Faith) of Neville Goddard’s Prayer: The Art of Believing***

Prayer is the art of getting your thoughts and feelings to agree. Do you know how?

We’re taking a close look at Neville Goddard’s Prayer: The Art of Believing. He opens the third chapter with this sentence: “Prayers are not successfully made unless there is rapport between the conscious and the subconscious mind of the operator.”

What a way to begin!

In other words, you haven’t prayed until you’ve achieved agreement between your thinking (objective) and feeling (subjective) natures. He asserts that your imagination and faith help you achieve this worthy goal.

Take Charge of Your Thoughts and Feelings Now!

Listen to this: “By the power of imagination all men, certainly imaginative men, are forever casting forth enchantments, and all men, especially unimaginative men, are continually passing under their power.” In short, you need to get a handle on your mind or you become the pawn in someone else’s story.

Several years ago, I had the privilege of attending the Milken Global Conference. This annual gathering of some of the world’s richest people was a heady affair to attend. I remember sitting with a fund manager and financial analyst for MSNBC from Chicago. He asked, “What’s your agenda?” I proudly told him, “I have no agenda. I’m just here to learn and absorb.”

His response: “Sherri, you need an agenda. If you don’t have one, you will become subject to someone else’s agenda.” It has taken many years to fully grasp what he was saying to me. Here’s what I understand today: those who can ably direct their imaginations become the creators of history; those who cannot or will not take charge of their minds become the victims of history.

How Does Controlling Thoughts and Feelings Relate to Prayer?

“Everything, that can be seen, touched, explained, argued over, is to the imaginative man nothing more than a means, for he functions, by reason of his controlled imagination, in the deep of himself where every idea exists in itself and not in relation to something else.”

In other words, I do not quarrel with appearances. I recognize appearances for what they are: illusions that can be reduced under the power of a controlled imagination. I know that my full work — from beginning to end — is to “eliminate all moods other than the mood of fulfilled desire.”

What do I want? What matters to me? Can I withdraw my attention from the world and give it wholly to the mood of what it will feel like when I have the thing I desire?

I need a well developed imagination and faith, which will allow me to disbelieve what the senses present and give my belief fully to what I am praying for and about.

Put the Thinking Mind in a State of Passive Rest

“The faith required for the successful operation of the law of consciousness is a purely subjective faith and is attainable upon the cessation of active opposition on the part of the objective mind of the operator.”

That’s a really fancy way to say: slow down your thinking mind. Relax. Chill out.

Sometimes the conscious (or objective) mind races along like an express train from New York to Washington, D.C., making few stops between its starting point and end point. When the mind races like this, it can feel as if there’s no way to grab hold of the reins.

But we do have some tools at our disposal. I have found exercise to be a wonderful stopper — especially an active sport like racquetball or tennis that requires you to be present in the moment. I also like movie soundtracks. One of my favorite theme songs is “Time” from the movie Inception.

Finally, I like reading. Even three or four pages of something inspirational can shift my attention. It will slow down the conscious train of thought that previously seemed like it was racing out of control.

[My latest passion is Dr. Seuss! At some point, I’ll have to do a course on the Metaphysics of Dr. Seuss!]

Belief Always Trumps A Strong Will

“It is not a strong will that sends the subjective word on its mission so much as it is clear thinking and feeling the truth of the state affirmed. When belief and will are in conflict, belief invariably wins.”

We give too much attention to will. You cannot will yourself to do what you do not believe. But you will automatically do what you believe. So, work on your belief.

What is belief? Quite simply, it is the combination of thoughts and feelings that agree with one another.

Can you accept the desired end? Can you believe you can have the thing you want? Then you can have it. If you cannot believe it, there will always be some circumstance or condition to keep you apart from it.

When you find that a result eludes you, simply realize that the belief for the thing desired is not yet fully formed. Resist the temptation to become frustrated or to throw up your hands in despair.  Relax and know that when the belief becomes fully formed in you, nothing on earth can keep you from the thing desired.

How Do Imagination and Faith Work Together?

“Imagination is the beginning of the growth of all forms, and faith is the substance out of which they are formed.” The imagination gives shape to the formless good we desire. It’s what takes a concept like love and puts flesh and bone on it.

Because “the subjective mind is completely controlled by suggestion,” it does not matter whether what you imagine is true or false. If you can hold it until it becomes a conviction within you, it can be yours. According to your faith be it done unto you. Everything you are willing to imagine is possible for you.

Neville speaks about this sense of conviction as a “confident expectation of a state.” You don’t have to make yourself believe it. You just¬†know it. And, it’s an unshakable sense of knowing.

What Causes Failure in Prayer?

“Failure is always due to an antagonistic auto-suggestion by the patient, arising from objective doubt of the power of the medicine or relic, or from doubt of the truth of the theory. Many of us, either from too little emotion or too much intellect, both of which are stumbling blocks in the way of prayer,¬† cannot believe that which our sense deny.”

Is this anything to be done to get around this problem?

When you’re praying for someone else, keep it to yourself. Your prayers for another are effective whether they know you’re praying for them or not.

But what if you are the subject of the prayer and you’re having trouble believing beyond what you can see?

Then you must relax your conscious (aka objective) mind. In this instance, I recommend experimenting untilbox breathing you find the tool that relaxes. Last week, I talked about as a means of occupying the conscious mind and slowing it down.

I am also a fan of journaling. At least for the time that your pen is on the page, actively writing, you have effectively captured or occupied the conscious mind. In the past, it has helped me to write out the same positive affirmation, filling up several pages at a time. At other times, I have started with one affirmation and continued with that type of positive thought, filling up pages and pages at a time.

Ultimately, you are looking for the technique that helps you focus your conscious mind and move beyond what the sense report.

Do Not Be Moved By External Appearances

“Visible states are either vibratory effects of subconscious vibrations within you or they are the vibratory causes of corresponding vibrations with you.”¬†Therefore, do not be moved by external appearances. What you see may point to a vibration within you but there is nothing permanent about that vibration. Never let what you see awaken something within you unless it leads to a desired state or experience.

Does that mean you stick your head in the sand? Pretend that you do not see the hurt in the world? Not at all. As a thinking spiritual being, you are part of the solution for what ails the world. The world needs our compassion and our creativity.

At the time of this writing, a high school in South Florida just experienced a mass shooting by a former student. When I read the headlines yesterday, I immediately wept for the families whose babies wouldn’t be coming home. I felt such anger, contempt even, for the “thoughts and prayers” being sent by gun advocates or those who could make a different choice but will not.

Putting Some Feet Underneath this Teaching

This spiritual study must have practical application. The prayer now is for what part I have to play in bringing about a right solution to this crisis. As I read the accounts emerging from the shooting, I thought about how I might feel if something like that happened at Jordan’s school. I would be devastated as I imagine the parents whose babies are not coming home must feel.

So, no, this teaching is not a “put your head in the sand” message. We must get involved and support the men and women who support policies that affirm life. Let us not grow numb to the sheer numbers of people being harmed by assault rifles and other artillery. Let us remember that “all transformations of force are reversible.”

We didn’t get here by accident, but by choice.¬† We can awaken within ourselves a new reality, a new truth.

I love the way Neville ends this chapter: “He never waits four months for the harvest. If in four months the harvest will awaken in him a state of joy, then, inversely, the joy of harvest now will awaken the harvest now.” We do not wait for the sense of relief that comes when we have sensible gun laws. We awaken a sense of relief now; we work with focus and patience, knowing that our desired outcome is assured. It is a matter of spiritual law.

Prayer: The Art of Believing Without Evidence

***All quotes are from Chapter 2 of Neville Goddard’s Prayer: The Art of Believing.***

First: Know How Your Consciousness is Constructed

For Neville, consciousness is comprised of two parts: conscious and subconscious. Of the two parts, the subconscious is infinitely greater. He equates the conscious with objective consciousness — what a person knows¬†— and the subconscious with¬†subjective consciousness — what a person¬†is.

I and my Father are one by my Father is greater than I. For Neville, this verse explains the relationship between humankind and Spirit (or God). Humankind, then, reflects the subconscious assumptions it has impressed upon Spirit. The actions we take are always in alignment with the underlying subconscious assumptions.

Everything you see in your objective experience can be traced to an inward subconscious assumption. Therefore, if you want a new outer experience, then you must begin with the inner subconscious assumption.

Second: Understand How Experience is Built

“What we are conscious of is constructed out of what we are not conscious of.” Your subconscious assumptions (aka your beliefs) do not just influence your behavior, they also determine the shape and texture of your objective existence.

Every potential exists — i.e. manned space flight, traveling to distant galaxies, finding cures for so-called incurable diseases — but only those awakened by a subconscious assumption become flesh. I believe we’re each here to awaken subconscious assumptions that make life better for everyone on the planet.

The subconscious never sleeps. But while you sleep, it “releases from the treasure house of eternity” the subconscious assumptions you’ve impressed upon it through your beliefs. Therefore, be mindful of what you accept as a belief for it will find its way into your living experience.

Third: Unlock God’s Treasury Through Prayer

Prayer is the key which unlocks the infinite storehouse.”

The conscious mind learns through inductive reasoning. Its conclusions come from observation, experience and education. Generally, it cannot believe beyond what it takes in through the five senses and logic.

By contrast, the subconscious mind learns through¬†deductive reasoning. The subconscious is wholly unconcerned with whether something can be done based on what appears. It assumes the premise —¬†given to it by the conscious mind — is true and it moves¬†as if it can be done.

So, what if you want something that’s never been done before or that you’re having a hard time believing you can do?

That’s where prayer comes in.¬†“Prayer modifies or completely changes our subconscious assumptions, and a change of assumption is a change of expression.” A new assumption in the subconscious produces a new result.

Fourth: Prayer Is Entirely About Impressing the Subconscious

Prayer is the “art of believing what is denied by the senses.” Through prayer, you ignore what is and give your attention wholly to what can be. You ignore the condition in the body and give to your subconscious a premise that perfect is true for you. Disregard the condition in your finances and give to your subconscious a premise that God’s abundance is true for you.

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of. (Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Because the subconscious faithfully executes the premises it accepts, your one job is to pray about a thing until your subconscious accepts that premise as true. You cannot afford gossip, worry, doubt, anxiety, fear, anger, etc. because they stand at cross-purposes with the thing you want.

The good news is that the subconscious is controlled entirely by suggestion but you must persist with the same suggestion until you get the result you want. The subconscious does not concern itself with whether a premise is true or false. Once accepted, it moves as if what has been believed can be accomplished and it produces a result consistent with the premise.

When this dawns in you, you will know that everything is possible if¬†you give your subconscious the right suggestions. Your future lies entirely within what you’re willing to pray for fervently today.

Fifth: Focus on the Creating the Right Premise

I don’t ever have to be jealous of someone else’s blessings. No one is having an experience of abundance that I cannot create for myself. Instead of being jealous, I focus on influencing the subconscious through right belief, feeling and time. I pay no attention to what another has, other than to witness what can be done through working with God.

Make a definite daily appointment to practice feeling and believing what you want to see in expression. I have found that timers are my best friend In fact, I just purchased a new desk timer to work with.

Set your timer for 5-10 minutes and just relax in the experience of what you want to see happen. Do not concern yourself with how it shall work out. That isn’t your business. “I of myself can do nothing, the Father within me. He doeth the work.”

Instead, give your attention to the feeling of the completed experience. Give it as much texture as possible. Experience it through all your five senses. What you will discover is that an inner conviction for the thing you want develops within you. Eventually, that inner conviction forms into an unshakable belief.

Sixth: Learn to Create a State of Controlled Reverie

“The subjective mind is completely controlled by suggestion. Ideas are best suggested when the objective mind is partly subjective…when the objective senses are diminished.”

Learn to put your objective mind in a “controlled reverie” where it is passive but still able to absorb information. “It is a concentration of attention.” Mantras can help the objective mind slow down and focus so that suggestions may be passed to the subjective mind without interference.

Prayer works when your mind is free of conflict. I have found that if I concentrate on my breathing, I can put my conscious mind in this state. I practice something called “box breathing.” I use music to help accomplish this technique.

Very simply, inhale for four counts, hold for four counts, exhale for four counts, hold for four counts. While my conscious mind focuses on my breath, I can offer suggestions to my subjective mind without obstruction.

How Do You Relax Your Objective Mind?

There are plenty of techniques out there for relaxing the objective mind. In the comments, please share a specific technique you’ve used to put your objective mind in a state of passive non-resistance. You never know whom you might inspire with your response.

The Secret to Answered Prayer

***All quotes are from Chapter 1 of Neville Goddard's "Prayer: The Art of Believing" 
unless otherwise indicated.***

Have You Ever Thought of Prayer as an Art Form?

We’re starting a conversation this week around Neville Goddard’s book “Prayer: The Art of Believing.” In the first chapter of this book, he talks about prayer as an art form that you must practice.

Every art form has a set of skills that, when mastered, make you an expert in that art form. For example, you cannot become a master at music without becoming highly proficient in the skills that make one a master of music.

Mastering the art of prayer requires you to develop proficiency in the following skills:

  • controlled imagination
  • inner tranquility
  • peaceful state of mind
  • faith

Mastering these four components makes you an expert in prayer.

Skill #1: Controlled Imagination

A central tenet of Neville’s teaching is that the Christ of your being is actually your imagination. That statement threw me for a loop when I first read it. I wanted to understand how it fit with the metaphysics I was already studying.

Originally I thought Neville’s position on imagination stood in opposition to what I was studying through the Universal Foundation for Better Living. But, when I looked up the definition for imagination in The Revealing Word, I found that Neville and Charles Fillmore were saying the same thing.

Charles says of imagination: It is the “faculty of mind that images and forms; the power to shape and form thought… What man pictures or imagines in his mind will eventually appear in his body.” Neville agrees. The differences between them seem to be one of semantics. Fillmore talks about imagination being a faculty of mind developed under the direction of the Christ; whereas Neville talks about the imagination¬†being the Christ.

Both agree that the secret to answered prayer begins with a controlled or disciplined imagination.

Every Process is Reversible

Neville writes in chapter 1: “The universal law of reversibility is the foundation on which [answered prayer is] based.”

Huh? What?

Let me explain. I’ll be using Neville’s example.

We know that electricity creates friction. That fact was known for a long time before it was discovered that friction could produce electricity. Your voice produces sound currents; in reverse, those sound currents can produce a voice. Heat produces mechanical movement; in reverse, mechanical movement produces heat.

Every process can be reversed. This is a principle that repeats across all creation. In Neville’s words: “Cause and effect, energy and matter, action and reaction are the same and interconvertible.”

So, what does that have to do with answered prayer?

Prayer and the Law of Reversibility

Feelings and emotions are the end products of experiences. Everything we do is in service to creation of some desired feeling and/or emotion. We do not want the car; we want the feeling and emotion that comes from having the car. It’s not about the house; it’s about the feeling and emotion that comes from having the house.

So, the law of reversibility says, “what is the feeling that you’re reaching for with the thing you’re praying about?” Give me the feeling and emotion you’re going for and we can reverse engineer the experience.

In Neville’s words: “The injunction, to pray believing that you already possess what you pray for, is based upon a knowledge of the law of inverse transformation. If your realized prayer produces in you a definite feeling or state of consciousness, then, inversely, that particular feeling or state of consciousness must produce your realized prayer.”

God Does Not Change

The laws governing this Universe are consistent. They never change. If a process is reversible anywhere; it is reversible everywhere. You can count on the consistency of God. Whatever happens anywhere can happen everywhere. Water can become steam; steam can become water.

The secret to answered prayer is that everything is reversible.

Start with the finished product (i.e. the feeling or emotion you want to experience). Reverse the conditions that created it and, by law, you must produce the other form of it. As metaphysicians, our job is to master the art of expansion and reduction.

Can I take a feeling or emotion and hold it until that feeling or emotion objectifies itself in my life? Inversely, can I take an experience I don’t want, identify the feeling it’s supplying me and stop supporting that feeling until the experience disappears from my life?

All Experience Is Objectified Feeling and Emotion

We’re going to talk about this further in tonight’s Bible Hangout. I am praying for open ears because if we get this, baby, we’ve got it!

“The feeling of the wish fulfilled, if assumed and sustained, must objectify the state that would have created it.” To objectify means to express something abstract in a concrete form. Feelings are abstract. Held in mind consistently they develop skin and become living realities for us.

“Assume the feeling of your wish fulfilled and continue feeling that it is fulfilled until that which you feel objectifies itself. If a physical fact can produce a psychological state, a psychological state can produce a physical fact.” Can you put yourself in a psychological state that represents how you would feel if you already had what you wanted? Then, can you HOLD that psychological state until the physical fact materializes?

That’s why you must master the skill of a controlled imagination.

Develop a Controlled Imagination

In his book Christian Healing,¬†Charles Fillmore says that “To allow the imagination to drift in daydreams never brings anything to pass. Ideas must be worked up into living, breathing, thinking things.” You cannot work up an idea into a living, breathing, thinking thing¬†until you learn to control your imagine.

Do not let your mind just run all over the place. Why? Because you waste your creative power on forms that are not worthy of the energy of God that indwells. Your imagination never stops creating. “Whatever we mirror in our minds becomes a living, active thing” (Fillmore, Christian Healing).

Many times we thoughtlessly bring into expression things we definitely do not want. But because we remain ignorant of the way life is created, we believe something is being done to us from an outside force. In reality, we create our own experience.

When you allow your imagination to run on in a thoughtless way, you set yourself up for experiences that you do not want. Here are some things you can stop doing that will work wonders for your imagination:

  • Watching the news
  • Gossiping
  • Having conversations about your shortcomings
  • Reading negative information about yourself and the world

All these things become fodder for your imagination. And, because your imagination never rests, these negative habits become the raw material for future experiences.

How to Develop a Controlled Imagination

There are many schools of thought on how to develop a controlled imagination. Rather than create an exhaustive list of things to consider, I will share with you the things I do on a daily basis to discipline/control my imagination.

I treat the process of disciplining my imagination like I do my physical workouts. I know that I have to be in the gym a certain number of days per week and doing a certain amount of exercise. If I hit that minimum (and manage my diet), I can trust my body to look the way I want it to look.

I approach the effort to discipline my imagine in the same way.

Morning Habit Stack

Every morning I get up before Jordan and complete the following practices:

  • Personal Wealth Commercial
  • Meditation
  • Mental Rehearsal
  • Prosperity Conditioning
  • Gratitude Expressed
  • Reading

Midday Habit Stack

The time for this habit varies. In general, I work in 25-30 minute blocks of time. I set a timer. When the timer goes off, I take a break and, if I do not have to go to the bathroom, then, I set the timer for 5 minutes and work with an entry from UFBL’s¬†The Daily Inspiration or¬†Science of Mind Magazine.

Once the timer goes off, I start working through the next 25-30 minute block.

Evening Habit Stack

Before I go to bed, I do the following things, which take about 30 minutes:

  • 5-minute devotional with¬†Daily Inspiration, Daily Word or¬†Science of Mind Magazine
  • Journal 3 thing I learned today
  • Journal 3 things that made today great
  • Focus on forgiveness (lately I’ve been concentrating on self-forgiveness)
  • Journal 1 new dream I am adding to my goal list
  • Read some positive literature (currently I’m reading Angela Duckworth’s Grit)

Now I want to hear from you. Have you ever worked on disciplining your imagination? If so, what tips can you share? Put your thoughts in the comments below. You never know whom you might inspire with your response.

What Every Spiritual Entrepreneur Needs to Know About Divine Purpose

We come now to the 4th of four spiritual laws of prosperity as identified by Edwene Gaines. This 4th law — the law of divine purpose —¬† will probably surprise you in what it takes to comply with it.

“To get really good at anything requires sustained interest and commitment plus dedication to incremental improvement and the capacity to weather failure and setbacks” (Angela Duckworth, Author of¬†Grit). The only way to do that is through a sense of Divine Purpose.

Everything in your experience unfolds incrementally. In order to consciously keep moving in a particular direction, you need a divine purpose to pull you. Life has so many distractions. You need something bigger than your present circumstance to keep you focused toward a particular end.

As you move through your experience, things will come up that seem important. These distractions may be important. They may even require you to stop a moment and give a portion of your attention to them, before you can continue moving forward.

Stopping kills momentum. Having a clear divine purpose helps you re-establish your path after you’ve been stopped, for whatever reason, in life.

Purpose Begins With Commitment

Gaines writes, “the only sure-fire way to know whether you’ve made a commitment is when there’s no turning back and the only way¬† out is through, all the way to the other side, because if there’s a side way out of it, that’s not a commitment.”

The path to purpose begins with commitment. Once you commit, you drive out, starve out, wait out all other distractions. Nothing has permission to pull you from your course.

In this type of commitment, you do not wait to see if things will work out to determine whether to give your all. You give your all no matter what.

Commit to Prosper

I have found that one of the hardest things to do as a spiritual entrepreneur is to commit to a better future when going through a storm. When life presses in on you, it can be hard to look beyond just wanting relief from your present circumstances to dreaming of a brighter future.

Gaines advises us to “move beyond a commitment to survive into a commitment to prosper. Then, beyond that, we must make a commitment to make this a better world.”

Resist them temptation to recoil when life hands you a setback. Even in our darkest moments, we must open a window to the divine to look out onto a future that includes a better world for ourselves and for everyone else. Walking in our divine purpose requires us to do so.

Be Bold in Your Commitment

Speak boldly about your commitment. Why? Because “your spoken word goes to the ends of the universe and is returned to you — and it doesn’t return to you empty. It comes back to you full to overflowing with that which you decree and declare.”

What are you committed? Be bold in your words. Let everything you say inwardly and outwardly reflect that which you are committed to.

Your Biggest Commitment Will Be to Yourself

Commit to “do something special for yourself every day. And you must be clear about what that is” (Gaines).

Doing things that bring you joy makes you a better conduit for the flow of Spirit. “As you engage in activities that pleasure and feed you, you’re going to find that you have so much more to give” (Gaines).

Often we seek to deny ourselves, thinking that restriction of pleasure and good will net us a better result. Learn how to take good care of yourself. Do what you need to do in order to make yourself feel whole, safe, complete and good.

The most important commitment you make will be the commitment you make to yourself and to your own well-being.

Make Up Your Purpose

“Your goals have finite deadlines, but your divine purpose is something that you will be working with and growing with for the rest of your life” (Gaines).

There are many problems in our world that need attention. What’s the ONE problem you want to address? What’s the ONE problem that you would have¬†fun addressing? Are you willing to devote your energy, time, talent, skill, and money to transforming this area of the world?

Yes? Then, make solving that problem your purpose.

“When you choose your divine purpose, you are framing your life with meaning.” You are saying, “This is what I want to stand for. When they talk about my life, I want this area to be the subject of conversation.”

Questions to Find Divine Purpose

Gaines provides a set of questions to help us identify our divine purpose. There are no “right” answers to these questions…only answers that feel right in our hearts. Take some time now to consider these questions.

  • What one issue seems most important to me?
  • What would be the perfect solution to this challenge?
  • Can I visualize it and see it clearly in my mind’s eye?
  • Can I write a description of what it would look like if the transformative work were complete and perfect?
  • What do I need to know/have/be in order to begin?
  • Is it time to go back to school, read the books, study with the experts, or learn the realities of the problems from those who have gone before?
  • Is it time to do the research, the investigation, and the questioning?
  • What is my first step, and how soon am I going to take it?
  • Am I willing to do what it takes?
  • Will I commit to staying the course, working in integrity, and standing alone in my mission if necessary?

Fulfilling Your Divine Purpose Brings Joy

I am strongest when I feel joy. In a state of joy, I am — and you are — unstoppable. We become like a force of nature when we allow joy to overtake us.

Gaines talks about joy as our “inner guidance system to help us find our divine purpose.” Walking in your purpose brings joy. Very plainly, she writes, “we are following divine purpose when we are doing that which brings us joy.”

In a joyful state, we give our best. We hold nothing back. We play full out when we move in joy.

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